aworkcovervictimsdiary-are we doing more harm than good to injured workers?

workcovervictimsdiary

We refer to some (out of line) comment(s) made on P Sharman’s Tasmanian Insult and Injury site regarding aworkcovervictimsdiary (our site). According to some people, it has been put forward that our site causes more harm than good to injured workers, particularly flagging “a concern that our site spreads misinformation and conspiracy theories, (possibly) contributing to victim behaviour”. Others believe we provide useful and practical information to injured workers and help them navigate the workcover maze… My personal view is that we are filling a pretty dark hole.

Are we (aworkcovervictimsdiary) doing more harm than good to injured workers?

Who are we?

Founded in 2011 by seriously injured WorkcoverVictim, we are a group of workers (and healthy family members and friends) who are or have been (seriously) injured or made sick on the job. We have first hand, vast, experience with primarily the Victorian workcover system and strongly believe that it -like most other states’ workers’ compensation schemes- needs improvement! We are a free, fully independent [¹] and rather popular ‘injured worker community”, which has been active in ‘working’ for any positive changes that help injured workers of all walks of life.
We are supported by Erin Brockovich.

aworkcovervictimsdiary continues to grow. On average we have 10 thousand visitors per month and about 40 thousand views per month.

stats2

On average, currently, about 500 people visit our site every day, viewing about 1500 pages every day. Some days we have had up to 5000 views per day.

visitors

This site has also more then 36 thousand comments, and we monitor both unique and returning visitors (and from where, which device they use and much more), if that helps those of you who need to go down the petty “stats” stuff, and are unable to constructively contribute to the purpose of this article.

visits-grow

What we do?

Together we seek to identify major (real and perceived) injustices, document them, educate newly and fellow injured workers as well as the public about them and propose direct or indirect alternatives where we can. In doing so, we also fight against myths, stereotypes and stigma with the goal to restore some dignity and humanity, as well as rightful benefits owed to injured workers.

  • We offer a “Community” for injured workers, a place where they are “at home” and understood, a place where they can unleash, be themselves and where they have a voice
  • We offer peer support – meet and interact with other injured workers who face the same difficulties and challenges that you do
  • We supply information regarding just about all aspects of the workers compensation system
  • We provide an opportunity to join “the fight”

What we are fighting for?

Reform of the Workers’ Compensation Act  or scheme, and return to the founding, fairer principles. Dignity, Respect, patient-centered care and Justice must be the foundation for a renewed Workers’ Compensation System. We want an Act or a workers compensation system with the stated purpose to truly assist and compensate workers injured, made ill injured and disabled at work. We also seek a collaborative effort of injured workers, community activists and advocates, doctors, lawyers, rehabbers, (former) claims agents, and perhaps Unions, to better the treatment of  injured workers by their employers and the workers’ compensation system.

Are we doing more harm than good?

Given the growing popularity of aworkcovervictimsdiary, we strongly believe that we are somehow filling a dark hole. We don’t know why around 10 thousand people per month would choose to browse about 40 thousand pages to read some of our stories, other than that we are clearly filling a needy void.

Loss and lack of control

The harsh reality few understand -and even fewer are willingly to express openly- is that when an injured worker is on the “system” (for more than 12 months at least), they start to lose control, and lack of control can often lead to desperation – and a desperate, more seriously injured worker, frustrated and “fed up” with the workcover system act out in different ways.

Once the injured worker ends up on the workcover system for a prolonged time [²], and worse, in litigation for example for a serious injury certificate or for a common law damages claim,  just about all semblance of control over the injured worker’s destiny is taken away! From being told what doctor to see, what medical treatment can or can not be approved, what surgery they must or cannot have, how much home help or counselling they can have, when weekly payments cease, whether they must return work, what type of work they must do etc.
Frankly, the truth is that the injured worker has no say during the life of the claim.

The one injured worker whom the system is supposedly  to benefit, the one injured worker who is in this horrible system in-voluntarily, is the one injured worker who has no control whatsoever over his or her fate =  injured worker pushed to the brink of their sanity and then acting out in an aggressive, at times even violent, desperate manner in an attempt to get some relief.

The workcover system is, in our seriously injured opinion, designed to do one thing and that is to remove all “responsibility” from the injured worker, and alas, remove all control from the injured worker.

aworkcovervictimsdiary believes that the blame for this utter frustration and, too often, desperation goes to the heart of what is fundamentally wrong with the workcover system.

Loss of identity

Besides suffering the actual physical and/or mental , emotional consequences from a workplace injury or illness, more seriously injured workers— at their most vulnerable— also often lose both their established stability of social and work networks and find themselves (emotionally) isolated. Many injured workers are almost on their own.

One must remember at all times that (most) injured workers had productive, successful jobs as well as careers and as a result of their (more serious) workplace injury/illness, most are also losing their identity. Many of us who suffered a workplace injury or illness are also highly educated people, some of us are or were “workaholics” and live(d) for their work. When such a highly educated worker loses his or her career because of a (severe injury/disability), in addition to his/her hobbies (i.e. sport) and lifestyle (i.e. loss of income) as well as social and work networks, they inevitably lose their identity. The same applies to a “blue-collar” worker or a “labourer”. Life as we once knew it suddenly disappears, many are left with a damaged or “shattered” life, a permanent, moderate to severe disability, many also lose their homes, and even their marriage.

Loss of trust – a sense of perceived and real injustice

Add to that the absurd, but real and ongoing need by our far too adversarial workcover system to provide evidence (=proof) both of your injury or illness and the severity of your injury or illness, making injured workers feel like targeted fraudsters and making them lose all trust. They feel the need to repeatedly validate their injury/illness.

Many injured workers will vent their anger, rage, hopelessness and frustration on blogs and forums like aworkcovervictimsdiary.com; others may send letters and/or emails documenting their horror stories, desperate situation and their frustration to politicians; a few – tragically- are so fed up with the system they choose to commit suicide because they feel hopeless. awokcovervictimsdiary has certainly seen its share of hopelessness, anger and frustration from such totally desperate injured workers.

So basically, the stories and comments posted on this blog highlight and discuss the above main themes –loss of identity, loss of trust, loss of control and an often, deep sense of injustice– in the context of the far too adversarial workcover system.

The stories on aworkcovervictimsdiary are not often heard elsewhere, because the reality is that many such injured workers are often ‘hidden’ and ‘invisible or ‘silenced’ (i.e. litigation, intimidation, fear, shame), not necessarily by choice, but by the way the workcover system operates.

We believe that only people who have suffered a more serious workplace injury (or illness) can truly understand and sympathise with what is written on our blog.

I don’t know if your heart will allow you to, if you will, please allow yourself to open your mouth or eyes to see all those around you that are suffering a work injury and its consequences,  but try…

Think about it. What if you lost an arm, leg at work? Crushed your spine, fingers, feet? Suffered the terrible psychological trauma and consequences of workplace bullying, a violent workplace assault, armed robbery? Lost your income, your career, your hobbies and maybe your friends, colleagues and marriage…

Yes, many of us, more seriously injured workers have heavy hearts, our heads need hands to hold them up as they have been lowered so many, many times. Many of us are badly hurt and physically unable to stand, walk, write.. but we are understood by the rest of those who understand and can sympathise when all we need is a word of hope and compassion.

Say hello to those who went to work one morning to earn a living , just like you, but got hurt instead, and who are now isolated, betrayed by an adversarial ‘system’,  and have been kept waiting for months or years… Many of us feel like our lives have become a waiting game without much support. We have been in a waiting game that causes shame and blame to, often shattered, lives that are already suffering with pain.

We, more seriously injured workers feel like the forgotten lost in a battle and no matter how we explain the state of our circumstances  it’s as if our information is interpreted and written in a different language.

We wish you, the healthy worker, the workcover insurance, its case manager, the “independent” doctor, the employer, the “rehabber” could comprehend without the need to offend us or our need to have to repeatedly defend the truth about our injuries.

We communicate but there is no one who will contemplate the fact that we  too have rights in this society and that we are entitled and legally owed justice.

Our main struggles are about justice and our rights to have a better quality of life …better than we are given. We are referred and passed on to other workcover-related services and/or agencies that place us often in even more difficulty, leaving us to struggle.

Yes, we believe we have become victims of a very adversarial workcover system that has a policy of denial making us into rivals at odds without an end in sight.

Say hi, our fight is for access to a better (quality of)  life and justice. We fight for a better way and for respect and humanity to rise above poverty. All we have are our words, and our stories and we hope we will be heard and believed. Our war is psychological and financial as we fight for the lives of our families and ourselves. It’s a fight that gets placed under scrutiny, over and over again, and alleged assumptions that condemn rather than complements the possibility that we are humans.

We are placed on trial and there isn’t really anyone you can rely on to promote reasonable communication to allow for accommodation or compassion.

Hurt or made ill on our jobs, we often lose all that we had and many of us are left without the ability of any earning potential in a stalemate with those who were supposed to protect us. Some of us will never be able to be self-sufficient, ever, without assistance or the courage to fight for our rights to be heard.

So, please, say hello to  a more seriously work  injured person. No-one knows how we could survive amidst all the alliances that oppose and have imposed the stresses of life upon us. It’s  a bit like being continually on life support. Many of us still have unfulfilled dreams and families that are left bewildered and sad. Many of us (will) lament over the opportunities that we might have had and the chances for a better quality of life that we have lost as a consequence of our injuries.

These are the facts that are the complexities of our lives – a life that was and, for many, a life that will never be coming back.
It’s never about being compensated for being injured;…
it’s always about explanations that lead to frustrations in our lives not being  taken seriously as we fight for our survival. We need a chance to be affirmed as worthy of being accepted and not rejected by prejudice; we hope for collaboration rather than frustrations.
We have had to be strong among the wrongs that complicate our lives.
And, our victory is about refusing to give up and staying in the fight!

More good than harm

We believe that in doing what we do, injured workers who experience difficulties with their situation, with workcover benefits and who are frustrated, those whose  hassles with their claims person (case manager etc) seem too much, really appreciate what ‘history’ stands behind them. They learn one important thing and that is that they are not alone, and certainly not the sole ‘target’ of the workcover insurance company or any of their representatives. Many injured workers went before you, blazing a painful and costly trail to this time.

We also hope that our injured readers learn about their  particular state’s claims process and workers compensation legislation the best they can. .

However, we do agree that it is quite possible for anyone reading our articles, and especially comment threads, to see so much “misinformation”, to seeing/hearing fear, confusion and worry . . . because we are very often sharing information that is specific to certain workcover claims for certain people and in certain states. . .It certainly does not help that the Australian workers compensation legislation varies so much from state to state!

Saying that, we do believe the overarching themes affecting injured workers most such as the sense of (gross) injustice and wrong, loss of control, loss of identity, emotional isolation, and distrust are the same or very similar in every state/territory. That there is a clear link between being physically injured at work and the emotional and psychological toll this can take is very apparent from injured workers interactions on this site.The impact of a workplace injury has a tremendous ripple effect on the (more seriously) injured workers  life.

However, and as highlighted throughout this site,we can not set ourselves up as professionals or experts and give legal advice, or medical advice, nor are we trained counselors, nor have we worked workcover claims.

We can only hope that we can in some way assist with an injured worker’s recovery, whether for life or for work. We also hope that, by drawing on (more seriously) injured workers’ own experiences with the “system” and acquired, shared knowledge we can better learn what works and doesn’t work, and perhaps influence to some extent workcover insurers, and their various ‘representatives’ (including for example, IMEs) to learn a little more about (more seriously) injured and traumatised workers.

 

We welcome any (constructive – please) criticism, suggestions for improvement as well as any ideas for change.

[¹]We run solely on the power of injured workers (and our healthy family,friends and carers), and are not affiliated in any shape or form with any Union, employer’s organisation, medical practitioners, lawyers, workcover authorities, insurance companies and/or their various stakeholders. We are not a non-profit “Society” nor a registered a (non-)charitable corporation/organisation. And, what’s more, unlike some other “injured workers support” sites we do not have any hidden agenda (e.g we do not run a for or non-for-profit rehabilitation centre, a law firm etc, we do not run paid advertisements, we don’t need our readers to pay for our articles/posts/booklets, no ‘membership’ fees etc. that is: we do not make any money whatsoever on the misery of injured workers). We just are… a “community” run by (current and former) injured workers for injured workers and have /receive no funding.

[²] Generally speaking injured workers who suffer minor injuries such as for example a broken leg, arm, a torn rotator cuff etc will not have the same problems with the workcover system, in particular with the workcover insurer, as longer term, more seriously injured workers. They will receive their 2-6 weeks time-off work paid, as well as their needed medical treatment and return to work.

 

[post dictated by workcovervictim and manually inserted on her behalf]



This post has been seen 658 times.

11 Responses to “aworkcovervictimsdiary-are we doing more harm than good to injured workers?”

  1. From the perspective of someone in NSW, the ability to obtain useful and relevant information about Workers Compensation Legislation, decisions and developments, is very limited.

    AWV provides insight into insurer tactics. It has helped guide me on issues of social media and surveillance. It has assisted in understanding new developments since 2012.

    It has shared real stories. Real heartache. It enables me to guard against what is to come as well as to prepare.

    This site is enabling and empowering. Those who criticize are free to go elsewhere and please themselves.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. This site is very important as it allows injured workers to understand the tactics and methodology used by insurers and workers compensation authorities alike. People once thought this abuse was only happening to them, but via this site we know that there are systematic efforts to wear down injured workers.

    The insurers and government authorities have years of experience in this field, many of them being subsidiaries of large multinationals. These organisations have the collective knowledge to be able to wield great power against an injured worker. This site changes that balance ever so slightly, giving the injured worker and his or her family the ability to fight back against bullying and uncaring people in the system.

    Those who work in the system are not just cogs in the wheel, they are integral to it. If they do wrong, you must hold the individuals to account. If individuals are held to account, then others may think twice before acting the same. Don’t be afraid to stand up to these people. Often we have little left to lose.

    Stand up and fight!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. My dear WCV,

    I was relieved to find aworkcovervictimsdiary. Discovering that you are not alone in how WorkCover Insurers treats seriously injured workers was a huge relief.

    As you well know, you start doubting your own sanity when the dirty tricks and the lies start flowing from the Insurer and their representatives.

    Like many others that have written on this blog over the years, when I was first injured, I genuinely believed that Workers Compensation existed to support me through my injury and assist my rehabilitation back into the workforce. Being that naive let me vulnerable to unscrupulous service providers.

    Even if the insurance companies started to act ethically [no – I am not really delusional 🙂 ] then the emphasis of this blog would surely be focus even more heavily on helping the injured get better.

    As Workers Compensation schemes around Australia focus so heavily on saving money at the expense (both health and financially) of the injured worker, then there can be no option but to use this blog, and others like it, to warn others of the insurance industry tactics, lies, traps and deceit that unfortunately has become part of many, if not all, workers compensation claims.

    WCV, you started this blog for that very reason. If you were treated fairly, respectfully and empathetically in your own claim, then this blog may have developed very differently. No-one is compelled to read this blog. If you don’t like, don’t come back!

    Thank you WCV for aworkcovervictimsdiary is an invaluable resource for the disempowered injured worker. And thank you to the other authors and contributors to this blog.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Does not the statistics graph you showed indicated about 10,000 visitors each month, not each day?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Thanks for pointing out our error P Sharman, indeed we do have around 10 thousand visitors per month. Currently we do have about 500 visitors per day, over 36 thousand comments (just on this site as we lost many on transfer from an interim site) and we both monitor our unique and returning visitors (and much much more) Still…enough to affirm that our site fills a need.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Workcovervictim3 August 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm
    • i can help out a bit here.

      the web stats are being misunderstood

      website traffic analytics mind blowingly complicated and unless you understand them and what they are actually measuring its real easy to misunderstand them.

      ‘visitors’ does not mean individual people. In the above example it does not mean 11,747 unique individuals visited the website during the month

      1 person can account for 1000s of ‘visitors’ per month, or if your unlucky 1 spammer can account for 10s of 1000s or millions of ‘visitors’ per month.

      a way to understand it is a website that is a forum for footy followers to talk about their footy club that has only 25 heavy users would generate ‘visitors’ stats of in excess of 20,000 ‘visitors’ per month and ‘views’ somewhere round 60,000 views or more

      a crude way to understand it is
      ‘views’ is clicks of the mouse
      ‘visitors’ is a session of roughly 15mins

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Hi All,

    I have CRPS,

    It took me a visit to a Doctor I had to check wasnt in any way connected to w**kcover or qc**t. Then I saw a pain specialist or two and its in phase two.

    I would like to know if there is anyone interested in placing a class action against Qcomp QLD for fraud.

    – many of you will have been shafted by Qcomp because we all know they are not the REGULATOR but the LAPDOG of workcover.

    – with alot of peoples cases evidence piling up im sure we NEED to something like this through.

    – the more of us that stand up against the obvious penny pinching for the insurer (workcover) the stronger our case will be.

    Who in QLD wants to take on the monster ?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Qcomp is a Fraudster August 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm
  6. I have been visiting this site since its inception, without it I would have crumbled into an isolated ball of despair. Thankyou to WVC and all your supporters, this is a wonderful place to learn, commiserate and debate. What are injured workers supposed to do, sit back and just take it? This site gave me hope when I had none, it clarified my rights and gave me the confidence to fight back and know that I am not alone, if that is hurting injured workers, then I suppose co payments for doctor’s visits help the budget (which of course they don’t). So to all who mistakenly think this site is not a haven for us injured workers, take a reality check and go and find out what it is like to live in our shoes.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Hi WCV
    What a crock of shit the site does more harm than good.
    Personally you and the the team have been a lifeline to me for over 2 1/2 years of having to deal with the crap these narcissistic pricks put you though imes dodgy case mangers up to number 44 so far not paying wages etc etc.
    Been to conciliation about 3 weeks ago know off to medical panel about 130 week payments .
    But there is some light at the end of the tunnel got my SIC and havea case conference in a few weeks for pain and suffering and economic loss and we all know how hard that is to get.
    Will keep you updated.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. I am discusted that we have to sit to those medical panels and be spoken to like dirt, our past being bought up time and time again , e.g I was only a baby when my parents broke up this phychatrist asked me if I knew the reason why my parents got divorced/ who in their right mind put anyone through this. It is so depressing how we have no say , no rights, but they sure do , they are protected always , the doctors and physchs who we meet only 1/2 and hr and are suppose to be able to make decissions about our health , whether we are able to work or not what a lot of rubbish it’s all corrupt. I get it there are those ripping the system but not everyone does. Just because I drive, walk, does not mean I am not in pain. It is disgrace that they are getting away with it everyday, my advice to anyone do not go to the med panels ever they stripped you of all your dignity and leave feeling like a nobody.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0